Opium is a notorious soporific, and this dim sum and cocktail lounge which bears its name certainly has its own dreamy quality. Behind a Jade coloured door on Gerrard Street is Opium. This parlour gracefully sprawls two storeys and each room bears its own charm and remnants of the Chinatown gambling venue it used to be.

The decor is rich and evocative, with liberal use of velvet, deep reds and antiques hearkening to romantic old school China and all the thrill of things left hidden and unsaid. The cocktails have an air of the Chinese opera about them, full of drama and elegance and just a little mystery. Expect ample Eastern style puns and creative cocktails served with a flourish in dainty vessels.

The “Chai-nese Clogs” contains Bols Genever, homemade chai tea syrup, a dribble of schizandra tincture and fresh lime – the “clogs” is a shot of Dutch beer for a twist on the usual kopstootje formula. The darling “East India Fizz” is a classy little blend of Averno Amaro Siciliano, falernum, fresh lime, Beefeater Gin, cloudy apple juice and soda. Other artfully named blends include the “War of the Roses”, shaken together with fresh white grapefruit juice, Beefeater 24, lillet rose, egg white, oolong-raspberry tea syrup and garnished with white grapefruit zest and mint leaves.

The other half of the equation, of course, is dim sum and these little Oriental dainties are intoxicating in themselves. There are delectable king prawn and lobster dumplings, pork buns and pretty mushroom and truffle parcels for the vegetarians.

Prices are on the higher end, so expect about £25 and up for a night out with a cocktail and some dim sum nibbles. Luckily, they stay open till very late, giving patrons time to luxuriate in one of the overstuffed sofas and idle away the night.

Check out Opium here


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